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Virtual CSC advances gender diversity and inclusion

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IFC has taken a 10 percent equity share, investing $60 million. As part of this support, IFC is helping the company strengthen its local benefit sharing and sustainable community development initiatives, including a stronger emphasis on women’s empowerment. As part of these efforts, the IFC team conducted an initial gender equity CSC in 2019, which resulted in the creation of a gender task force and a formalized gender action plan. Following the implementation of the initial gender equity CSC, plans got underway for a second scorecard process.

BY THE NUMBERS: SRL’s virtual gender equity CSC

2 goals

  • Assess the company’s performance as a gender-equitable and women-friendly employer
  • Propose actions for improvement

6 online assessment meetings

  • 2 hours each
  • 38 participants, mix of male and female staff and managers

2-hour online interface meeting

  • 22 participants, balanced mix 120 total staff hours


  • 94% said process was useful
  • 76% said they were “very confident” that the CSC would influence SRL decision making
  • 100% expressed interested in future CSC participation


Why go virtual?

Plans for the second scorecard coincided with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and global shutdown of in-person activities due to the public health crisis. Rather than postponing a second CSC, IFC’s CSC team quickly pivoted to a virtual format. They adapted materials and processes, conducting the entire CSC process remotely in a series of facilitated Zoom meetings. The effort represented the first time the virtual approach had been tried, but organizers and participants alike said they were satisfied with the outcomes. There also were some hidden advantages in the virtual approach, in terms of cost savings on travel expenses.

About the process

The week prior to the start of the CSC process, all participants received two video presentations. The first informed them about the upcoming CSC while the second reported on SRL’s gender equity progress since implementation of actions from the first scorecard. In the online assessment meetings, participants agreed to criteria on how to measure the extent of the company’s gender equity. They scored SRL’s performance according to each of those criteria, identified specific examples of what SRL is currently doing well and less well, and proposed actions for improvement. At the final interface meeting, representatives from all groups came together to share their findings and collectively agree on six top priority proposed actions for improvement.



In general, participants demonstrated a stronger understanding of the concept of gender equity and greater awareness of gender-related issues compared to their knowledge level during the first CSC. Still, comments revealed some persistent (conscious or unconscious) gender-related biases. For example, one participant observed that women who work might not show their husbands adequate respect. In the assessment meetings, participants were asked about whether the environment for women at SRL had improved since the last scorecard. Thirty-six percent reported improvements, while 54 percent felt the environment had stayed the same and 10 percent said they thought it had gotten worse.

Of note, the survey revealed a significant difference in the opinions of women and men, revealing a “gender gap” in perceptions and lived experience. Among women participants, only 6 percent felt the environment for women had improved, while 81 percent felt that nothing had changed, and 13 percent felt the situation has worsened.

While participants acknowledged both company strengths and weaknesses, assessment groups gave SRL’s overall gender performance a somewhat low average score (at 2.3/5). This indicates that while progress is underway, participants see significant scope for the company to improve.

Participants who reported an improved environment for women cited enhanced awareness of gender issues among staff and management, more awareness and reduced incidence of sexual harassment, and the adoption of new policies and plans such as the Gender Action Plan. Among those reporting a worsening situation, many referenced the pandemic’s impact and related challenges.

Agreed next steps included communications on the scorecard findings, following up on some of the comments made during the assessment meetings, such as investigating continuing incidents of sexual harassment or exploitation and raising awareness about gender and gender-based violence during staff meetings, and supporting progress on the Gender Action Plan In addition, the CSC process will be repeated in a year’s time.


For examples of materials used as part of the virtual Gender Equity CSC, see the toolkit.


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